How We Build a Society That Works

I really credit high-quality early childhood educators with helping my family find resources to diagnose and treat my son’s developmental delays.

When my oldest daughter was in child care, I found the educators to be a wonderful source of support and information. I didn’t have a lot of family around, so early childhood educators became my support. I would say, "What the heck is going on?" and they would say, "It’s okay, we’ve seen this a thousand times, it’s normal, and here’s how we’re going to help you through it."

But with my second child, his progress was much slower. At 16 months, he was just learning to sit up on his own, but I wasn’t worried because I had always been told that boys mature slower than girls. Then one day at a doctor’s appointment, I realized that he was not hitting any of the normal developmental milestones, and he was immediately referred to a childhood development center.

From that point, he was offered a number of services including speech therapy and physical therapy, and his child care providers were the backbone of support throughout this time. His child care center agreed to hire a full-time aide to work with him, and I’m so grateful for the progress that he made there. In the period of 16 1/2 months when Eli was doing nothing except for sitting up and clapping blocks together through the period when he left to join kindergarten, he learned how to walk, talk, speak and express himself in sign language. He was kindergarten ready. He went to Marion Cross and was mainstreamed. It was unbelievable.

Now, I look into the future for my son and see a life that I never imagined could be possible for him, all because of the support we found at his child care center. We didn’t think he would read, we didn’t think he would write. He plays piano now. All of this is because of all the therapy and support, but also because we had a group of people who continually believed that they could push this kid and they had the resources. They said, "We can do this. It’s necessary. It’s how we build a society that works."

~Micaela T., South Strafford